Go Bother Someone

One of my favorite novels of all time is The Time Traveler's Wife* by Aubrey Niffenegger.  I found her book the same way I find most of my favorite things - a friend recommended it to me.  I love love love this book; I read it once every year or so.  Sometimes I pick it up just to read a few pages, it's that good.  I'm not alone, either.  The Time Traveler's Wife has sold over 2.5 million copies. It won the Exclusive Books Boeke Prize and a British Book Award.  It was made into a move.  The book, it seems, is a huge success.  

And yet, guess what?  A lot of people hate it.  There are 232 one star ratings on Amazon.  There are 22,704 more at Good Reads.  Let me give you a little collage of these lovely reviews:

 

Rarely have I run across a book where virtually every character just annoyed the crap out of me as much as they did in this one.

 

Anyway, the author cobbled together every coffee shop, ex-pat, beatnick poetry reading on the left bank of Paris cliché she could think of and turned them into characters.

 

I found The Time Traveler's Wife to be dreadful.

Those are excerpts from the "helpful" reviews on Amazon. Step down into troll territory and it gets even better.

 

Do not waste your money buying this book. There is something inherently false about it. It pretends to be something that it isn't. This book disturbed me...it was hard to put my finger on it at first. It's a fake.

 

Just pure hype. Life is too short to waste on such a piece of garbage.

This guy is so upset by the book, he has no choice but to speculate on Ms. Niffenegger's gender:

 

I doubt the author is a woman. It reads like it's written by a man--despite the mushy love story. The author uses crude language when it's not necessary and has the main character sleep with another man (twice) when she is most likely not to do so - unless written by a man.

And finally, my favorite one yet:

 

I didn't like this book. It was like acid in my eyes to read about this heart-felt love that I will never have. I had so much hatred for the tenderness of the characters. And I found two typos.

Ouch. 

 

The good news for Ms. Niffenegger is that she's not alone.  You'll find this same pattern follows all my favorite books: The Icarus Deception, The Lean Start Up, The Prophetic Imagination.

 

You can't please everyone.

 

Well, not exactly.  There is one way to please everyone.  Everyone is pleased when we do nothing. Or rather, nobody is unpleased.

 

If that's what success means to us - that nobody is unpleased - then doing nothing is our only choice.

 

When we step out, when we make something we're proud of, when we stand up and announce ourselves, when we launch anything of any consequence, when we reach out to another human being - that's when the trolls roll in.  There will always be somebody that doesn't like what we make. Always.

 

Everybody loves me is the same as nobody loves me because everybody loves me really means nobody is bothered by me and if no one is bothered by us, how will anyone ever be moved by us? How will anyone ever love us?

 

How do you double your success? Triple your failure.

 

How do make something worth loving? Make something worth hating.

 

Go bother someone.

 

Go make somthing.

 

*affiliate link